by Cindy Veach
When I think about it now I am fearless
but sometimes I still hear
the hum of our minivan coming back from Iowa City—
that two-lane highway with too many white crosses—
troopers flagging us down, ordering us to lie
belly down in the ditch. Iowa sky. Imperial sky.
Every spiny tendril that drops from a dark cloud
reminds me of the bed fear made. Silence meant trouble,
a brewing. I prayed for thunder. I welcomed the cackle
of lightening, rages, yelling matches—
but a sudden drop in pressure, the sucking out
of sound. I got good at seeing it coming—
sky purpling, moving over our house,
our house slanting into shadow.
I went down to the cellar to weather
each storm. Tornados are cruel.
Of course, I had to leave him.
CINDY VEACH is the author of Her Kind (CavanKerry Press, forthcoming 2021), Gloved Against Blood (CavanKerry Press), named a finalist for the Paterson Poetry Prize and a ‘Must Read’ by The Massachusetts Center for the Book, and the chapbook, Innocents (Nixes Mate). Her poems have appeared in the Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day Series, AGNI, Prairie Schooner, Poet Lore, Michigan Quarterly Review and elsewhere. She is the recipient of the Phillip Booth Poetry Prize and the Samuel Allen Washington Prize. Cindy is co-poetry editor of Mom Egg Review. www.cindyveach.com
Photo: “Tornado Warning” by Rachel Gardner